The Pakistani spy agency ISI was actively involved at every stage of the Nov. 26, 2009 Mumbai terror attack, possibly the most vicious and far reaching terror attack since 9/11 Bruce Riedel, former CIA analyst, writes in The Daily Beast.
“We know a great deal more today than ever about the attack, its planners, and the critical American hand in the plot,” according to Riedel. “The Oberoi and the Taj hotels were attacked by teams of terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba group (LeT), along with the city’s train station, a restaurant that catered to foreign visitors and the rich, a Chabad House for visiting Israeli and American Jews, and the city hospital. Between November 26 and 29, 164 people died and over 300 were injured by the 10 terrorists. Six Americans were among the victims.”
Riedel believes the attack’s purpose was to alter the future of South Asia and possibly provoke war between India and Pakistan. The Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) picked the targets and meticulously researched them for several years.
“They received considerable assistance in doing so from two sources – the Pakistani intelligence service, called the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate or ISI, and Al Qaeda,” Riedel states.
The Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Righteous) is one of the largest and most active jihadi organizations in South Asia. It was founded in 1990, with headquarters near Lahore in the Punjab province. They operate training camps in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
“The targets were the same,” writed Riedel: “Indians, Americans and Jews – the targets of the global jihad started by Al Qaeda in the late 1990s … The ISI was especially pleased with the choice of the Jewish Chabad House as a target.”
The local Chabad House, known as the “Nariman House,” was run by Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Gavriel Noach (Gabi), 29, and Rivkah (Rivky) Holtzberg, 28. The young couple had moved to Mumbai in 2003, to offer hospitality and Jewish awareness to Jewish travelers, and to serve the small local Jewish community. The center was especially popular with Israeli backpackers who visit India in thousands every year after finishing their national army service.
Recovery crews found the bodies of Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg, Rabbis Bentzion Chroman and Leibish Teitelbaum, Nora Schwartzblatt-Rabinowitz and Yocheved Orpaz, may God avenge their murders. The Holtzbergs’ two-year-old child, Moshe, was saved by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel.
Riedel, who served as adviser on South Asian issues to four American presidents, says he had turned over all his information regarding the collaboration between the Pakistanis and the jihadists to “President-elect Barack Obama and his transition team at the time in several briefings in my role as South Asia transition director after his election.”
The former CIA South Asia hand says the aspect that shocked him the most about the Mumbai massacre was David Coleman Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, who was the brains of the operation.
Born in 1960, in Washington, DC, as Daood Sayed Gilani, Headley changed his name to hide his identity when travelling abroad. In his confession, Headley acknowledged that “the raid also was planned with active ISI involvement at every stage.”
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is the largest of the three intelligence services of Pakistan (the other two are the Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence).
All of Headly’s planning meetings in Pakistan were with ISI officers and LeT leaders. The ISI gave him money, starting with $25,000 in cash, to set up his cover story in Mumbai. The ISI also provided the training for the attackers, including instruction from elite Pakistani naval commandos.
“The Pakistani mastermind of the Mumbai plot, LeT leader Hafiz Saeed, remains free in Pakistan, where he continues to be a darling of the ISI and regularly calls for more attacks on India and America,” Riedel writes, noting that “five years after Mumbai, justice has yet to be served.”